Episode 7: Strange Magic
Having been left in charge of the circus while Reggie Bunkler is away, roadie Truck Tarkenton was preparing to interview new acts when magician Artemus Jinx suddenly materialized out of nowhere. Artemus explained that his performance was no mere magic act…it was genuine magic. Artemus boasted that his staff had dabbed the tears of Satan.
Another prospective new act, daredevil Jack Lightning Jr., was inspecting the cannon for his human cannonball act. Just then, the circus’ current daredevil Robbie ‘Bad Decisions’ Knisions came by, furious that Jack was looking to replace him. Jack proposed a stunt-challenge to see who would stay and who would go. For his part, Jack planned to superglue himself to a rogue elephant and then be fired into a herd of female elephants.
Strongman Viktor Busliftor went out to throw out his trash when he discovered Billie the Goat Lady grazing nearby. Viktor introduced himself and invited her in for borscht. Billie explained that she had come to join the circus, since losing her job at Popeye’s.
Contortionist Etzel the Human Pretzel was limbering up when Truck came by. Etzel greeted Truck as an old friend, mussing his hair and teasing him about how lousy his circus is.
Robbie went to Artemus Jinx for magical assistance in winning the stunt challenge. Robbie knew that he couldn’t outdo Jack, so he asked Artemus to change the truth that Jack was the better stuntman. Artemus asked if Robbie was willing to deal with the forces of darkness; when Robbie agreed, Artemus stabbed Robbie’s hand with his staff to draw blood. Robbie was immediately infused with great power.
Billie the Goat Lady met Jack Lightning Jr., who was slightly freaked out by her appearance. Billie told Jack that she was his greatest fan, and had his posters hanging on her walls. Jack invited her to his bedroom to see the posters he had on his walls.
Viktor and Etzel were playing foosball and reflecting on the concept of masculinity. Viktor had noticed that the circus turns traditional roles on end, with the bearded ladies, goat-women, and manly men in feminine costumes. Viktor had come to realize that he felt like a woman trapped in a superhuman male body, and he broke into a song about his gender confusion.
Jack Lightning Jr. and Bilie the Goat Lady were relaxing in the afterglow in Jack’s trailer. She asked if he wanted to see her udders.
In his lair, Artemus Jinx sensed that the axis of time had gone askew. He feared that by granting the power to Robbie, he may have unleashed forces that would doom the world.
In the center ring, Etzel the Human Pretzel presented the climax of his act by attempting to fit his entire body through an unstrung tennis racket. He failed miserably.
Jack Lightning Jr. came to Truck’s office regarding his new act. Truck revealed that, after Etzel’s horrible performance, he was rethinking the idea of hiring new talent. Desperate to be in the show, Jack offered a deal: If he dies during his act, Truck doesn’t have to revive him. He broke into a song pleading to prove himself the #1 stunt performer. Truck agreed, knowing that it would bring in a huge audience if Jack dies.
Robbie was preparing his new act, declaring in a deep demonic voice that his newest stunt will make the world run red with the blood of mortals. He noticed Billie the Goat Lady spying on him, and he told her how much he admired her cloven hooves. She explained that they came in handy for her tap-dancing act, which she then demonstrated. She went into the audience and turned the tap-dance into a lap-dance.
Viktor, now wearing a dress to reflect his inner woman, came to see Artemus Jinx. Artemus declared that he hadn’t seen Viktor since that time in Moscow, when he magically cured Viktor’s Chernobyl radiation poisoning by converting it into strength. Viktor thanked him for the “favor,” prompting Artemus to ask why he was using air-quotes. Viktor explained that used them for emphasis, and Artemus informed him that he’d been doing it wrong all those years. Getting back on track, Viktor asked another favor of Artemus: He wanted the sorcerer to make him a real woman. Artemus lamented that he had expended too much power when he helped Robbie, and could not grant Viktor’s wish. Taking matters into his own hands, Viktor castrated himself with Artemus’ staff.
Jack Lightning Jr. and Etzel were reminiscing about how Jack had taken in the orphaned Etzel as a child. Jack revealed that he had a confession: He may have been a father figure to Etzel, but he truly was the father of one of the other performers…namely, Robbie ‘Bad Decisions’ Knisions.
In his trailer, Robbie was sitting in the lotus position and chanting backwards. Truck came in to confront him about his devil-worshipping, and Robbie declared that he was not worshipping Satan, he IS Satan. Truck warned Robbie that he knew from reading Chick tracts what this path leads to…it may start off with heavy-metal music and D&D games, but the next thing you know, you’re snorting coke off of a hooker’s labia. Reverting to his normal voice, Robbie asked “Really?”
In his trailer, Viktor was admiring his new female self, as he talked to his testicles (preserved in a jar on the shelf next to a bonsai tree).
The possessed Robbie was preparing his act when Jack came in and confessed that he was Robbie’s biological father. Though he acknowledged that Robbie’s REAL father was the man who raised and loved him all those years, Jack confessed that he still felt great paternal pride in Robbie’s accomplishments. In fact, he had kept clippings and posters of Robbie’s career on his walls. In response, Robbie asked “You know what I’ve got on my wall? YOUR SOUL!” With that, he snapped Jack’s neck.
Truck came to confront Artemus about his unleashing the devil on the circus. Artemus explained that he could set things right again, but it would require a sacrifice.
TRUCK: “Don’t tell me it’s a goat-lady.”
ARTEMUS: “That’s pretty much where I was going.”
Etzel was complaining about life in general to Billie when Truck passed by, leaving a trail of tin cans. As Billie was compelled to follow the trail, Etzel kept on ranting without noticing her absence.
The trail led Billie back to Artemus’ lair, who apologized for what he was about to do. The possessed Robbie entered just as Artemus slit Billie’s throat. Artemus then took his staff and literally beat the devil out of Robbie. When he came back to his senses, the unpossessed Robbie saw Billie’s body and asked whether he had done that. Artemus replied “Yes, you did,” then shouted for the police.
TO BE CONTINUED…